A heartfelt affirmation of queer love.
A first-person text presents several children, all wearing rainbow-heart T-shirts, grappling with others’ homophobia. It then documents their eventual movement toward pride in their families, simply by talking through their hurts and then arriving at the conclusion that “Love is the same. Wherever you live. Whoever you are. And whomever you love.” Even as the different children talk about being teased for having gay parents (the word “gay” is used as a default or umbrella term, with no instances of words such as “queer,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” etc.) or feeling otherwise targeted, the illustrations also start to show kites in the distance, first red, then orange, then yellow, and so on. These kites end up forming a heart in rainbow colors in the sky when the various children and their families come together at the end of the book. Before arriving at this point, it’s often quite difficult to follow the shifts between characters, as the illustrations pair the text with diverse children in clearly different locales without indicating that a new child is the speaker. Obviously intending inclusion, the images seem to attempt both universality and specificity at the same time, to frustrating effect. There’s no story to speak of, but the clear message is underscored by extensive backmatter with conversation prompts and further affirmation of queer families and identity.
A strong message weakly presented. (Picture book. 4-8)